May 22 2013 Latest news:
Friday, June 1, 2012
Due to geography, Norwich has always had close ties to the Low Countries, and one city pub is continuing that tradition.
The Belgian Monk, in Pottergate, looks like a traditional Belgian brown bar with its dark wood and it has the same drinks and beer you would expect in Antwerp.
When it opened 12 years ago, business partners Terry Hughes and Linda Smith wanted to create something different yet fit in with the way drinking and dining was changing.
It now serves a regular selection of 45 beers together with Belgian food, and even Belgian-style tapas, but it’s not just the meals or drinks that regulars return for - it’s the whole Belgian experience. That includes no pints, but with such high quality brews who’s complaining?
Linda said: “We are unique in Norwich, but you have to be. You have to offer something different to survive at the moment. To get people interested and through the door, you have to offer something that other places don’t.”
Regular visitors to Belgium will know that nowhere does beer better than the Belgians and the quality is second to none.
That’s why the partners go every two to three weeks to Belgium to pick up the beer from the breweries, and bring it back in their own truck. They don’t just go to the most famous breweries, they also visit independent companies, and have exclusivity from four smaller regional Belgian breweries ensuring that they offer beers not available anywhere else in the UK. Their most popular brew is Ter Dolen Kriek, a deliciously sweet cherry beer.
Linda said: “A full management team runs the place. I spend a lot of time front of house while Terry is the chef. We’re great believers in being part of the experience. Our regulars include students who enjoy the strong quality Belgian beer, and older people in their 70s and 80s who enjoy the atmosphere.”
Part of the pub team is supervisor Sophie Bird, who has worked there about four a half years.
Before opening the Belgian Monk, Linda was a newsagent in Norwich, but Mr Hughes has a background in catering. He used to work at Berni Inns and was operations director for Harry Ramsden.
The Evening News has been urging people to return to pubs in our Love your Local campaign.
To see more stories from the campaign visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal.